Paying for free software?

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The purpose of this guide is to inform fellow eBayers about sellers that are selling software which is available freely and legally to them via large software and code repositories such as Sourceforge.

The free software I speak of are software products licensed under the GPL (General Public Licence), a special licence that grants you the ability to download the program, and it's source code via the programs site, or huge software repositories such as Sourceforge and allow you to freely modify it to suit your needs and even distribute it with your modifications, however, you must keep all original credits in the program, and you must never charge for the program nor it's source.

Sellers say they are 'authorised resellers' for these free products, but it is a contravention of the GNU GPL to 'sell' a free software product. I saw a free software product called Filezilla, which is a freely available FTP Server and Client, being sold for £5.99, and the same seller was selling other free software, stating he was an authorised reseller of the software. The truth is, there is no such thing as an authorised reseller of free software because selling free software breaks the GPL. You should NEVER have to pay for software under the GPL unless you are paying for the CD used and postage (90p a CD? Less perhaps, then postage, a CD or two in the post will cost around 3 pound via Royal Mail Special Delivery, maybe even less.), but never for the software itself.

Spotting a free software product is as easy as googling it's name. If it says it's free on the site, don't buy it from the eBay seller, but if you really want to be sure you are paying your way, the developer of the product would be greatful if you donated to his project. By buying free software off eBay, you are preventing the real developers of the products from getting possible donations for the product they made.

Ebayers should also watch for sellers who don't label the software they are selling with the products real name, in order to stop you finding out if the product is free. I noticed a product called Sesam Media Center being labelled as "Media center portal". In this case, eBayers should be encouraged to look for free alternatives of the software they are after before committing.

You should not be sold free software, don't be scammed!


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